Conscious Life

A Blog on Personal Development for Awaken(ed/ing) Souls – by Tim Stanek

Bigger Than The Bear

Staying Small

Why do we stay small? I’m not talking about physical stature. I’m talking about how we some people show up in the world. It’s easy to get locked into one pattern of behavior or the other, whether dominant or submissive. But outside this polarity, I believe there exists an intrinsic quality that is often overlooked: Willpower.
Domination and submission are very common qualities in all human relationships. I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with this dynamic. It doesn’t have to be sexual either (Although it can be 😉 ). I think it’s a natural dynamic that has arisen out of years of humanity needing dominant leaders to survive.

But what about love? What about cooperation? To be sure, the principles of cooperation, understanding, and compassion are all incredibly important in any kind of relationship. Empathy, the ability to feel others’ feelings, helps you to understand the emotional consequences of your actions in the lives of others.

But what does this have to do with staying small?

Personal willpower is domination of your inner demons. Other people’s inner demons respond when confronted with your will power. By inner demons I’m referring to fear, jealousy, low self worth, toxic shame, negative thinking, etc. If you have mastered these valid aspects of yourself then other people will sense it in you.

But first they will likely challenge you, in which case, you must make yourself bigger than the bear.

Bigger Than The Bear

I have a friend who trains martial arts, and I recently had the rare opportunity to learn from him (he NEVER does this, so I need to emphasize how grateful I am that he shared with me some of his philosphy!)
Of the lessons that he taught me, one that has stuck with me came out of this situation:

We were playing around, not quite sparring, but playing around, and I fell into some familiar patterns of martial movement based on my Capoiera training. When he advanced on me in an attack, I immediately fell to the ground into my familiar floorwork. Because I hadn’t trained in a while, my floor game wasn’t sufficient to defend against my friends attacks. He just had this dominant energy that I didn’t know how to approach. If we were actually fighting, I would have been toast.

I became frustrated and finally asked for some help.

He compassionately instructed me to imagine I was in the woods, perhaps camping alone, and I happen upon a bear. An angry bear – a hungry bear.

“You have to make yourself bigger than the bear.” he said.

I placed my hands up in the air, imagined seeing a bear in the woods, and I felt incredibly awkward. I’m sure I looked like I was trying to flag down UFOs for a sparkle pony lazer party.

But he continued: “No, you have to make your ENERGY bigger than the bear”.

That’s when it clicked.

Anyone in my life who has ever pushed me around (and, admittedly, it’s been quite a few), has always been bigger than me. Not in physical stature, although that has sometimes been the case, but in ENERGY. I imagined my ENERGY as bigger than the bear.
In my codependent family, I had to make myself small to survive. I was bear food. But this energetic pattern of behavior is not helping me in situations now, where, as an adult, I am confronted with angry/hungry bearish behavior in others.

Putting it to the Test

Shortly after my impromptu martial arts class I was in a situation where someone was verbally abusing me – calling me names, trolling me. I was with a female friend. I remembered my training and instead of making myself smaller, instead of reacting with more verbal abuse, I just stared at this person and made my energy bigger than the bear. Everyone in the room felt the shift. My female friend grabbed me by the arm as if to say “he’s not worth it” – like she was restraining me or holding me back from a fight. I wasn’t looking for a fight but at the same time I wasn’t going to let this person abuse me anymore. I imagined this person as a bear and I made my energy bigger than him, bigger than any name calling he was throwing at me. With that energetic shift I was able to cause the bear to back down without a single word or fist. The abuser ended up apologizing afterwards.

After this experience I’ve been reflecting on how, without realising it, most of my life I’ve made myself smaller than the bear because I knew no other way of being.

What are some examples of bears in your life? Try to come up with a few examples and imagine making your energy bigger than the bear. It’s the only way to stop it from eating you! Your life is important, and valuable. Don’t let these bears devour you.

College was a bear for me. Some musical relationships were bears. My parents and siblings were, for the most part; bears. This isn’t to shame or blame them – most people don’t realize when they act out the basic human traits of domination. But what sucks is that a lot of the time this imposition of bearishness can squelch the redeeming qualities of love and compassion and dignity and respect.

But I believe, firmly, that by adopting the practice of making oneself bigger than the bear, that we can teach other human beings – on a cellular level, which is really an energetic level – that we are not to be dominated. (again, this isn’t in the sexual context, you kinky lovers).

If we become the dominant beings we have a choice, and, imho, a responsibility to be compassionately dominant. I choose to use my will to teach others, to trust others and earn their trust in me. I want to lead, if not for the sole reason that I’ve allowed myself – based on past “small Tim” conditioning – to fall victim to the inept leadership of incompetent people.

And you know, it’s almost as if, by asserting ourselves as being bigger than the bear, that whole Domination/Submission dynamic has the opportunity to eat itself by the the tail and totally dissolve itself – which, to some, is terrifying because it is their entire view of reality – but, I would put forth, confidently, that there exists a world outside of this dynamic in human relationships: one of mutual cooperation, negotiation, respect, and reason; and that when the bear is conquered there must exist something else, and we, as conscious beings, have the choice and the duty to perpetuate these principles in our own lives, and in the lives of others with whom we share influence.

Let’s become bigger than the bears, and let’s let the bears see our soft courage and our open hearts, and perhaps, too, these bears will become human again.

Peace and goodwill.

Tim

The Rules of The Game Blogpost

The rules of the game
This life is a game. We can laugh and play, and there may or may not be a point, depending on how you play. We are all from divinity, a whole, conscious entity of some sort. In this phase of the evolution of divinity, divinity has deemed it integral to place pieces of itself within each one of us. This is true creative potential, and we may use it however we choose.

It is up to us, however, to also figure out what the rules are! So what are the rules?
Depending on what your world view is, you may have different answers. The ten commandments, the laws of the Torah, different spiritual principles, etc. But since you’re reading my blog post, you’re probably already an open minded person (or you haven’t found my left field stuff yet – keep looking 😉 ) and relate more to the “spiritual but not religious” approach.

I know I do.
But spirituality isn’t a goal that is achieved – it is consciousness, in this moment, right now, and this consciousness is spirituality itself. There are many traditions of spiritual practices that are performed as a way of life, and many people confuse spirituality with spiritual practices. Both are valid, but this distinction must be recognized.

Spirituality is a state of being, of connection, of oneness. Union.
Spiritual practices are culturally and sociologically influenced practices surrounding spirituality, the most effective among them creating space for awareness of spirituality to occur.
Are you awakened to your true spiritual nature?
Many people go through their lives without questioning anything. Are they wrong? It’s not up to me to say. Sometimes I envy such a person because it seems like, from the outside, that their life is easier than mine. But I have to question; I question everything. Why? Because from an early age, my experience of reality was different from the one that my environmentally imposed religious practices suggested.

For example: I had a lucid dream at the age of 4, and I knew that it was different from a regular dream. This dream was terribly frightening to me, and that fear brought me to what some might call the astral plane: I had an out of body experience (OBE). My parents could not or did not want to explain this to me. My environmentally imposed religion suggested that such things happened, but only in stories; so my reality changed. I had this experience that was quite mystical to me – even at a very young age – and I had these messages coming in about life that seemed in congruent with my experience of reality.

I began to question! I questioned my parents; whom, in my innocence, I revered like gods. I asked them my existential questions of the nature of the universe and was met with confusing responses, often insinuating that I shouldn’t question things in the first place. This created instances of imposing their beliefs onto me, or, in the worst cases, breaking my will. I am grateful now that I was a stubborn and while, yes, my will was broken many times, I’ve still retained the value of the experiencing the truth of my own experience.
You may have had a similar experience – you have a mystical awakening somehow, whether through dreams, creativity, yoga, with a lover, at a music festival, etc, and you need to tell someone. While those around you may support you and encourage you, if the haven’t had a similar experience to what you are describing, they can’t validate it for you. So, you need to seek out those who have, indeed, had similar experiences.
Awakening to your true spiritual nature.
Spiritual awakenings are commonplace these days, yet that doesn’t negate the amazing power they posses to impact and drastically change ones life.
So, now that you are awaken(ed/ing) to your true spiritual nature, what do you do? “Now that you’ve found out who you are, what do you want to be?” *
This isn’t up to me to answer, but I can give some suggestions for what to do after you’ve had a spiritual awakening, most of this based on my own life experience.

Heal – If you’re like me, it’s likely that, due to circumstances beyond your control, you have been placed in trying situations from which is seems difficult to escape. My family life was like that – so many cords of codependency pulling at me (in total fairness, I was co dependently pulling at them as well – that’s how it works!). It was such a journey to save up enough to move out of that environment. Once I did, I realized that I needed to heal many untouched patterns of behavior that were doing me more harm than good. I made space in my life to heal. So make space in your life for you to heal! Do yoga, meditate, clean up your diet, exercise more, build your support network, and educate yourself on how to change behavioral patterns. Its fascinating stuff! If you’re having a tough time, hire a coach to help you out. I’m considering creating a course or mentorship program in which I can help people do just that. (let me know in the comments if you are interested).
Regroup – After you’ve gone through the bulk of your healing, it’s time to regroup. It’s a funny way of describing it, but regrouping is like reevaluating. Healing will put you in contact with your heart, and your heart can often tell you where you need to go, if you know how to listen. Your heart has a wisdom of its own. For me, it was writing an inspiring work of fiction that’s enjoyable, fun, funny, that also includes lessons in lucid dreaming and spiritual growth and development. The re-grouping phase is a time to set new intentions based on what you learned in your healing.

Refresh – experience the joy and beauty of being an entirely new person based on your growth and development!

Teach – now it’s time to level up – you need to teach what you know, or chronicle it, or journal it somehow. I truly believe that spiritual lessons are made more valuable once we teach them. This could be a mystical process, or a marketing process. In my case, I’m looking for a way to combine both so that I can reach more people with my message.

Combined approach
These lessons can come one after another, sequentially, or it can be a grab-bag. I think that how I prefer to ingest them has a bit to do with the order in which they arrive, yet it seems that often they’ll surprise me. There’s no telling what the future holds, but I know and trust that that I put into it is what I will get out of it.

I will invest in myself and in growing my soul for the divine benefit of all humanity. That’s my tip for today.

Love, Tim

P.S. Comment! Let me know what you think, how you are doing, and what you ate for breakfast. I had a smoothie 🙂
* quote a song by a group that ushered in a new age of spiritual practices to the world back in the 60s, The Beatles.

The Self Employment Blogpost

(I found this post that I wrote before I took a job working at a juice bar. There are various reasons why I did this, most notably to find my “main hustle”, which requires a great deal of soul searching. The juice bar job gave me the space and security to feel safe exploring. But I thought these words were interesting, and have a different perspective now, so here it is!

warmly, Tim)

I am writing this post after a year of successful self-employment. It will consist of 1) why I did it 2) how I did it and 3) what I recommend based on my experience

Why I did it
I was born into poverty! In Boston, MA, my mother was a school teacher and my father held pickup jobs at bookstores, and worked as a janitor. My father told me at a very young age (and quite mournfully) that at some point I would have to submit to someone’s authority. I’m not sure what happened in his life to generate this world view, but the energy with which he said it was so hopeless that I almost immediately began to lose trust in him. (Authority and trust are two concepts that I will weave into this post, as they both play a very important part in my decision making process.) Looking back on the way that my father chose to raise me, he actually did me a huge favor. Because he chose to exercise unquestionable authority, and because I was naturally a curious child, I learned that “authority”, as represented in my mind by my Dad, didn’t have all the answers! Throughout my entire childhood and early adulthood, I had trust issues because of it. But these trust issues caused me to question. I questioned authority, silently at first, around 7 years old. Then when I was 16 and could drive, I rebelled outright against my father’s control issues by getting a girlfriend (it was implied that I was to be there for my parent’s emotional support when they got divorced.) If this sounds strange, that’s because it is! I grew up in a dysfunctional family.

In a dysfunctional family, the dynamics are such that much of the time the parents had unmet needs when they were children. Instead of dealing with it (many don’t), often times what happens is they look to their children to fulfill that need. It’s really not ok; it is abusive and detrimental in many ways to growing a healthy adult. In my childhood there was much physical abuse, covert contracts, and boundary violations. I don’t need to get into specifics, but I’m sharing this because I know I’m not the only one who experienced this! Since I’ve had much time to reflect and heal, let’s get back to the positives.

The takeaway from all this is that I learned that blindly following authority was insufficient. It didn’t work to get me needs met, and I didn’t want to end up like my Dad. I just wanted to party, have sex, and play music in bands. And into my early 20’s, I did that! It was a great way to distract myself from the emotional resonance of years of living in a dysfunctional family. Also, It was fucking fun 😛

Here’s the meat of the story: When I was 25, because of financial reasons, I moved back in with my Dad. I felt so defeated at the time: I had just broken up with a very close girlfriend, I was broke financially, and internally. To top it all off, my dad had not out-grown his authoritarian control and expressly forbade me from having women over (first at night, then when I broke that rule, AT ALL). Yeah, I was 25, remember?!

I enjoy the company of women. But basically he was forbidding me from being and adult in the way I wanted to be, which I could not tolerate. So what did I do? I got a job. First at the movie theater, but that was only part time and I didn’t enjoy ripping tickets and policing and being disrespected by movie-goers. So I quit around Christmas 2013. Then, I got unknowingly involved with a pyramid scheme of sorts with an insurance company. I studied my ass off and passed the state insurance exam in about 3 weeks time. Then I started my business of insuring families – life insurance. The only thing was, I didn’t know how to generate good leads! It felt very incongruent to put out a vibe of success and being able to handle something as important as a death in the family when I was still unhappy and living in my dads house. To top it all off, I didn’t make much money, and my trainer kept stealing my business. I didn’t have the gall or confidence or self-respect to stand up for myself and tell him to stop. So I failed at that.

Next I put myself in the position to get a customer service job. I auditioned for a temp agency that worked for a very large corporation (Disney). The customer service warehouse was located about 10 minutes from my Dad’s house, so it was convenient. I worked for Disney for about 5 months. It was tough work emotionally, as anyone in the customer service industry knows. Especially as an empath, I absorbed much of the toxic energy through the phone. It felt like I couldn’t take it anymore, and there was no where to turn.

I actually may have shot myself in the foot with this one. I’ll explain why. I was probably one of the best representatives they had! In evaluations, after about 2 months I was in the top 5. They quickly promoted me to floor manager (I was the guy that customers talked to when they said “Can I speak with your suprvisor?”. That was incredibly emotionally taxing, because I didn’t feel like I got any support from my superiors. I was just a barrier to them. I hated it! So, I looked for other opportunities, and a friend hooked me up with a delivery job in midtown memphis. I was already planning on leaving when the talent agency offered me a position in the coveted “loss prevention” department. I would get 4 extra dollars an hour, and it would be behind the scenes work instead of front-line stuff. As an introvert, i probably could have thrived in that position. But, I already had my sights on the delivery job where I could be in my car and listen to my music and dress however I wanted. This decision was probably an unconscoius relfection of my learned distaste for authority and also my trust issues at the time. I didn’t trust the authority to take care of my needs. I have learned since that standing up for oneself is the first step to getting ones needs met, but i lacked the personal confidence and dignity that I have now. Plus, they offered me the Loss Prevention job with the caveat that they needed me for the busy season (Halloween-Christmas) and that I would have the chance to sign on with Disney (not the temp agency) if I did a good job. Of course I would have done a good job – i was obsessed with over-performing because I did not feel like I was ever inherently good enough (good for them, not for Tim!).

So I quit. I just stopped going in. My delivery job picked up, and I moved in August 2014 to my own apartment, paying my own rent, working weekends, but feeling much better about not living under my fathers roof.

BUT this is a story about self employment, right? Well, moving out of my dad’s and supporting myself was an important step in this journey. I worked that delivery job for a year, and saved up about $5,000. It’s not alot, but it was $5,000 more than I had a year before! I started hating the job though – my boss was disrespectful (and authoritarian like my Dad!)

How I did it

I have a friend who had been self-employed for some time and when we’d get together we would talk about wealth, time-freedom, and the benefits of self-employement and owning a business. He helped me to create ideas about how to support myself and make my own money. I had always been a musician, but I stopped playing because I didn’t like being underpaid to play in smoky bars and get little sleep. But, i had at times an occasional solo jazz gig at a retirement community. Jack helped me craft a plan to talk with activities directors at retirement communities and book enough gigs to support myself. Also, too, he had an open room in his house that I moved into, which was a load off because It was stupid cheap rent. Really, I was paying less than $200 a month for rent!

I remember that first month – I had a goal to reach $1,000 in gigs, and I surpassed it! It felt so amazing to do so. I was on top of the world! In memphis, you can find renting situations that are very cheap because property values are low. This was a huge help too.

What I reccomend based on my experience

As a self-employed person, I have become increasingly aware of the value of my time. When you’re employed, you generate a specific amount no matter how dead or inspired you feel. When self-employed, if you can anticipate the times you will feel inspired, you can time that with your value creation process. I’m getting a little ahead, so lets break it down to some practical advice on making the transition from employed to self employed.

1) Have a safety net. I worked to save up $5,000. This helped to cover my expenses and give me peace of mind. That way if I had a bad month, I could survive long enough to hit the next month extra hard. I can’t stress how important this was for me to relax and jump into the change.

2) Learn how to make money. This seems like a given, but going from employed to self-employed forces you to change your way of viewing things. As an employee, your earning potential is capped. When you are self-employed, your earning potential is dependent on the amount of value you can create for others. Ask yourself: What is the single most value producing thing you can do? For me, at the time, it was playing an hour piano performance at retirement communities. I was already good at it because I had studied piano in college, and I had one reoccuring quarterly gig at a prestigous retirement communiy in Memphis. I knew that many retirement communities in Memphis had a budget for entertainment already, so it was up to me to tap into that. I learned to sell myself by focusing on rapport building (my insurance training came in handy here!). I would walk into a community, speak with the activities dircetor, build rapport, and causally ask If I could see their piano, under the guise that I would check it out to make sure it was in tune. This had the subtle effect of creating even more value for them on the front end, which helps them to be open to reciprocating. If you go into a sales situation thinking only of what you can get out of it, your focus is off. Focus instead on how you can create value for the other person. In this case I was creating value by checking the tuning on their piano for free. Then, I would wow them with some flashy trills. More value on the front end. Notice that I didn’t have a recording to give them through all of this. I do recommend a recording, but don’t let them take the recording if you don’t have a change to build value on the front end. Physically driving up there and speaking face-to-face helped me to generate much better rapport than a phone-call or email.

Another thing I learned is that you have to treat customers like any other relationship. After the intitial sale, it’s bad form to imeadiatly rush into asking for reoccuring (monthly) business. That would be like going out on a first date and expect to be in a relationship automatically. You need to take time to let things blossom naturally. Stay in communication, but do so politely, from the perspective of adding value and making their life easier.
For exmaple, showing up to a gig with an invoice makes the activities director’s life easier! Do it.
I have several reoccuring monthly gigs at these communities now, but only after I allowed a significant amount of time to pass. It takes time to build trust, so do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to do it. At first I was frustrated with the amount of time it took to build this trust because I was afraid of not having enough money, but now I can see that it actually gave me time to learn which communiteis I liked working with and which I didn’t. So it was a selection process for me too.

I’ve been supporting myself on these gigs for a year now! I also have learned to supplement my income in other ways. For example, I also teach Reiki at a local yoga studio and give sessions to people who want it. This is another example of how I’m adding value with my time.

Moving forward, Focus on multipliers
As I move forward, I am focusing on multipliers. A year of self-employment has given me the insight that as long as I am creating value (that people will pay for!), I am successful and can pay my bills. I believe that once you figure money out, your life because very easy. If money is an issue, the engine of life remains un-oiled. Money lubricates the flow of life. This is my reality, and I am creating it.

About 7 months into my self-employement, I had lox and lattes with a good friend of mine, another self-employed man. He owns a contruction and investment firm. I explained to him that I anticipated getting burnt out creatively on my nursing home gigs around August. I had an idea to sell my contracts to different retirement communities, but now I want to get into a different business. Ultimatly, I learned that retirement communities money moves about a month slow. In other words, I create value (play the gig), and get paid about a month later. I hated this! I want my money to move fast, so I can spend or invest it faster. I believe that the speed of money and money multipliers are the keys to wealth, and wealth is important to me.
So now I’m at the place in my life where it seems like the only thing left to do is work on cultivating new income streams. I’ll update you as I go. Keep in mind that I’m not quitting the gigs cold-turkey; I’m still playing them and respecting these relationships. They pay my bills. I do have time freedom to write blog posts, create more value, build more relationships, and learn about what other ways I can help people and make money.

This is not the endof the journey, but it is the end of the blogpost! I hope that my journey can serve as some inspiration to you for the future, and maybe get you thinking about the different ways that you can take control of your life and your financial future. Don’t spend money you don’t have, but do focus on creating more value for others in mutually win-win situations. Play with a bunch of ideas, see what you like, see what people will pay for, and when you find an idea that does both, run with it! Get support of friends who have been there before (like i did with mine). Surround yourself with people that are where you want to be a learn from them. Listen more. Let them express their wealth vibration. The more you listen, the better you will pick up on subtle things that they do or embody that you can emulate. Learn, Learn, Learn, and stay positive. Your Neo-Cortex will help you decide what the next right move is. If you get stuck, ask yourself “What is my next right move?” For me, It’s working on creating a Reiki course for massage practitioners in need of CEUS! We’ll see how that goes. I’m excitied about it because of it’s multiplier capabilities (aka scalability).
Ok that’s it for me. See you next time!
UPDATE: For various reasons, about three months after i wrote this post, I decided to get a job at a juice bar. Why? Did I fail? No, of course not! My businesses and side hustle are still going on, but I am changing.

i don’t want to just work on side hustles as self employment income – what’s my MAIN hustle? Is it the juice bar? at the moment, yes, in that I am doing 25-30 hours a week there, but c’mon – that’s just part time anyways!

My main hustle has been writing Igby, a sci-fi/fantasy novel. What will this look like in the future? I don’t know! But I plan to add value to other’s lives by creating an enjoyable book.
I feel that this is a topic for another post, but until next time, keep on!

Defining Identity, Flexibly Part II

Greetings Friends!

For this post I am drawing on a few ideas I wrote about in Defining Identity, Flexibly Part I. (In which I talked about the difference between permanent and impermanent identities, and also the difference between national and galactic identities. I was going through a time where I was very interested in understanding how different national identities influences the politics and ethos of different regions of the united states, so most of my time was spent explaining that, and applying it as a metaphor for inner thoughts and beliefs.)

This leads me to question to what extent we are a result of our surroundings and to what extent we control our conscious evolution.

My Story
I was given the rare opportunity to be born on the east coast, the son of two New Yorkers and then, when I was 10, relocating with my family to Memphis, TN. I specifically remember the day when my first buddy down here convinced me to wear my hair down and stop slicking it back the Sicilian way that my grandfather had taught me. After that I played a long game of trying to fit into Southern culture. I found music, which was quite liberating given the nature of the open-minded people who frequented the local jam-band scene.

But when I really wanted to follow my natural creative tendencies, I hit resistance. My band mates kept wanting to play the more traditional Southern rock tunes that I never really resonated with. At the time I also heard Dubstep for the first time, and wanted to incorporate more electronic elements into our music, but my band mates resisted. I spent many, many years clinging to the idea that I could change them somehow, when really I was simply too frightened to let go of a creative relationship that no longer served me.

I remember back in 2010 I was coming back from a gig with Mojo Possum (one of my “possum” bands: the other was called “Copper Possum”). It must have been past three in the morning; so I was playing in bars til past three and getting up for school the next morning – looking back I let myself indulge this poor self-care routine because I thought it was cool to “burn the candles at both ends”. This was at a time when I knew that I had stopped enjoying playing in Mojo Possum, yet I was clinging onto our weekly thursday gig at Newby’s because I didn’t know of another way to make money. Earlier that week I had found a walking stick that terminated in a “Y” shape and leant it up against the side of my rental apartment; I thought it looked cool and intuitively felt like it was spiritually significant somehow. When i arrived at my house, lo and behold, situated squarely between the two branches of the “Y” was a large American Opossum aka “Possum”. This was no ordinary Possum though; most Possums will hiss and defend themselves if approached. No, this one just hung out there, looking around like a buddhist monk, seemingly content to hang out on the stick. When I approached it, though, I could see that it was very sick. I stood there with the Possum for a while, wishing that I didn’t have to experience such an obvious sign from the universe that my time with Mojo Possum was coming to an end.

Permanent vs Impermanent Identities.
My time as a blues musician is what i consider an impermanent identity, but I can still play the blues. My time as a student was an impermanent identity, yet i still retain a good amount of the information that I absorbed in that time. The only permanence that I feel like I experience in this case is the permanence of being myself as a changing and evolving being – which, paradoxically needs to include what I’ve learned from previous identities.

It’s almost that, in order to get the lessons from an impermanent identity, we need to pretend like it is permanent in order to let it sink in. We must fully commit to playing that part, like an actor in a movie. In order to play the part well, we need to be convincing. By the way, only choose parts that you are interested in and that you know you can do well. Sometimes it can be hard to see for sure which one that will be, but trust your gut – trust your intuition. You can do it! You can make the right choices for you! But when it becomes time to let it go, don’t cling to it. Just get the lessons and move on.

Nature Vs. Self Nurture in Identity
I use the term “self-nurture” to imply that as a conscious adult one has the ability to nurture oneself (not implying only self-care, but also consciously seeking out the nurturing of others in a self-directed kind of way). Our nature, one could say, is our roots and learned programming. Most people go through their entire lives without questioning who they are, or why they do the things they do. Behavior is learned, and so many want to take advantage of that process through self-directed learning.

I would put forth the idea that by combining nature AND self nurture, we can be a more complete human being: ourselves.

Here’s the gist of it: until you take control of your life, of your growth, of your habits, then you will be operating based on your conditioning: whether it be familial, societal, or something else. You will grow up thinking that you are just a cog in a machine that wants you to do something. True, there will be many ideas and paradigms imposed upon you. You have the choice to accept or reject these paradigms, but most, especially as children, decide to accept it. Where growth stops is when, as a conscious adult, we choose to continue to blindly accept the story that is imposed upon us. It can be a conscious choice, in which case I totally respect the choice of that individual. It just saddens me to see people give up their divine creative gifts to become what society, or family wants them to be.

Here’s a wake up call: YOU  have the power to make a choice and start living life more consciously. Grow. Educate yourself. Improve your skills, happiness, and awareness. Surround yourself not just with positive people, but with people that are real with you and, when asked, can tell you what they see, both positive and negative. It can be hard once you start questioning things that you may have built dreams upon – such as a car, house, a spouse, and a couple kids maybe. You can still have those things if that’s what you really want, but let it be your well-informed choice, not just a default.

I think that many people, myself included, have fallen into the trap of thinking “Oh, here’s what society/my parents/my culture wants me to be, so I’ll be that.” and then wonder why they feel unfulfilled. Again, I’m not speaking to the people who have found fulfillment in following these paths – I am speaking to those who feel like there’s something more that they are missing. And what is it that is missing from the equation? YOU are! You, as a fully realized human being, resplendent in your full potential. YOU, as a spirit in a body, creating a unique signature in all that you do. YOU, living happily, taking responsibility for your life, and realizing your dreams.

So where do you start? You have to want it. You have to realize that, in order to grow and develop yourself – your soul – you will have to stand up for who you are. Stop surrounding yourself with people who hammer you into something smaller than you are. Stop agreeing to someone else’s dream for you, if that’s not what you want. 

If you’ll join me in this journey of self-discovery, I can help you to deal with the consequences – which is a greater self-understanding, and taking more responsibility for every aspect of your life. Complaining only helps in that it helps us to identify the parts of our lives that we need to be taking more responsibility for. This isn’t just a short-term goal or mission – although it can include short term goals. I’m in it for the long game. I’m in it for the self-enrichment with ideas, knowledge, understanding, so that I can cultivate my soul and create myself as a divine being here on earth.

What are the tools, what are the rules of this game? Essentially, if it works, it is true, and the rules are that you must be in integrity with all life. I wish I could more clearly define the “rules”; maybe that’s another post for another time! But suffice it to say that most spiritual practices agree on a few different aspects of what divinity is – it’s likely that the “rules” (or guidelines 😉 ) that span cultural and continental divides are the ones that will take guide you to your true self.

As always, efficacy is the measure of truth.

Much Love,

Tim

The Power of Choosing Seclusion

Are you the type of person to seclude themselves when things get hairy? Do you prefer to chill at home instead of socializing? I know I do. It’s easy to get into a pattern of seclusion as a default, but when it is chosen consciously with intention, it can really enhance ones quality of life.

Seclusion for seclusion’s sake sucks. Because I spent so many years in seclusion – isolation – emotional and sexual anorexia – it became a default modus operandi for me. But I’ve had the opportunity to do much inner work on myself (most notably with regards to the emotional and sexual anorexia), and so I have grown into a man who can now enjoy seclusion when it is chosen purposefully.

Sound familiar? Lots of empaths and introverts experience this (These two qualities are different things, but they often run hand in hand). I consider myself to be both. An empath feels deeply the feelings of others, which is a wonderful quality to posses. It becomes a burden, though, if that empath starts to look outside of themselves to figure out how to feel about something. This is very common in situations where that empath has dealt with or is dealing with great personal and emotional struggles and is unable to establish a sense of serenity within.
Balanced seclusion
I am an author, and a composer. To be alone and creative is absolutely wonderful. However, I have noticed recently that as a default empath, because I am human and still require social situations and basic human affection, I have to take charge of getting these needs met. For example, yesterday I chose to work on Igby (like my page!) for a few hours. It was great! I’m almost done with the first section and it is ridiculously exciting. But after a while I felt emotionally unfulfilled. Checking in with that emotion revealed that it had nothing to do with the book at all – I was just needing human love and affection – I was feeling lonely. There are times when I question the way that I am feeling in favor of accomplishing a certain task, but again, that had always been my modus operandi. It felt as if questioning the way I felt in favor of completing certain tasks was how I was trained to operate in school and college, so to question that paradigm is extremely empowering for me. So what I did is I hit up a friend from acro whom I look up to and asked if he wanted to grab a beer. Simple! Easy! All it took was me reaching out. As a deep thinker I often overthink things, and make social situations heavier than they actually need to be. I think this also has to do with a propensity towards intensity in relationships that I garnered by being raised by an emotionally intense mother. What this means is that I often look past normal, healthy human situations in favor of a more emotionally intense one, resulting often in a seeming unbalance in, for example, basic human affection versus intense romantic desire.

So to choose seclusion is super empowering for me right now. I went out, had a beer with friends, and got some normal human affection. I changed my approach to the whole situation, which ended up turning out beautifully. Instead of showing up and putting out a “I need affection” energy, I showed up genuinely interested in having a good time and adding value to the group. I used to do this until I’d feel drained, which was a problem. Knowing when to withdraw is an important skill. As an author and an introvert, it’s easier for me to seclude myself and build up energy that I can bring to social situations. This stuff is precious!!! Don’t squander it. Pour it over people that you genuinely care about, and who have demonstrated that they genuinely care about you. I showed up and gave away 4 quartz crystals that I had mined from the ground in Ida, Arkansas. It was a simple gesture, but I wanted to give something. Crystal gifting used to be a way for me to create covert contracts with other people (in a mafioso kind of way i.e. “I gave you this crystal now you owe me a favor, etc). But that’s not my intention anymore. I felt genuinely motivated to gift these crystals to people with whom I already had established relationship.
We all talked for a while, ate, drank, and laughed. It was a great time! You know what? I went home inspired, and full of energy, ready to write.

Active Seclusion.

Seclusion, for an introvert like me, should effectively recharge the individual. We power up our emotional batteries by taking care of ourselves. This is an active seclusion, where we are present and enjoying the process. If you need to be lazy, just enjoy it, mk?

For someone who grew up with low-self esteem, this part of the process can be terrifying! You mean i have to actually take care of myself? I thought that if I create enough covert contracts that someone will come along and be obligated to do it for me?

Wow, this one is huge. I struggled with this one for years and years. The truth of my experience reveals that, yes, there will be people in your life who genuinely want to meet your needs, and it is important to reach out and cultivate relationships where you are guided, empowered, and nurtured by parental figures in your life. But these people will provide this value to you becuase they want to, not because you obligated them through covert contracts.

It takes bravery to get your needs met if you’ve lived your life with the impression that you are unimportant – less than – unworthy. Mentorship can really help too, so find yourself someone who has been through a similar situation and model their behavior! Tip: make sure that your mentor is in a place of genuine giving so there is no room for obligation. They have to want to play that role for you.

Please use this post to spur new ideas about self care and the energy dynamics of active seclusion and social giving. Introverts, unite! separately, in the privacy of our own homes. Just kidding. Introversion is a fulltime position, but if we embrace it, we can bring a lot of unique value to the world, most notably, the value of being our happy selves.

In Love,

Tim

Happiness in Growth

I got the text: “I need some space”. “Of course” I replied. Who am I to argue with someone’s assertion of personal sovereignty? Even though I was really looking forward to hanging out with this person, they canceled on me.

But then someone else did to. Legitimate excuse after legitimate excuse came, and I was unable to understand why. I didn’t fight it, or complain, but i was disappointed.

4 or 5 people canceled plans with me this week!

The power of Three
Whenever something happens that perks up my intuition and my spidey senses tingle, I look for frequency. In other words, I pay attention to how frequently a certain event takes place. The fact that i had 4-5 cancellations in one week tells me that something important is going on. Furthermore, three of these peeps had something in common.

But first, how do I know that three happenings means something important is going on? It’s because I have a frame of reality where I want the universe to speak to me in threes. Another way of looking at it is I have asked God or my higher self to communicate to me through the outer world using numbers. I have a large lexicon of numerological associations that I pay attention to, which gives me insight into decisions. I trust my gut and trust my intuition, but still use my logical brain to help me to implement the intuitions. This is a very interesting way of navigating through life.

Happiness in Growth.
What did three of these people have in common? I’ll tell you. And it’s not because I want to call them out or anything, because I’ve certainly been guilty of this as well, so I’m no angel here. But three of these people are depressed! I couldn’t make the connection until this morning as I was meditating on happiness.

In one of my favorite books “Mastering Your Hidden Self: A Guide to the Huna Way” by Serge King, the author defines growth as “increasing awareness, skills, and happiness”.

I have mostly focused on awareness about 60%, skills 30%, and happiness 10%. Even this self-evaluation requires a high percentage of awareness to make, ya dig? So these three categories can accentuate each other. If you cultivate your self awareness, you can make experience-based judgements on the other categories. Let me give you a real life example.

Because I have worked on cultivating my awareness through meditation, self-discipline, and self-reflection, I am able to see that my happiness levels really aren’t spectacular. Happiness, skills, and awareness are three categories into which I invest my time and energy. As any apt investor will tell you, it’s important to regularly re-balance ones portfolio! So, I want to increase my happiness levels to 33.3% at least. This is a subjective, self-assessed level. My goal is 33.3% in all categories. Keep in mind that this “re-balancing” doesn’t mean that my awareness levels decrease. My awareness will stay the same as I work on my skills and happiness, I simply won’t be investing in any extra time or energy into growing it because it’s already a dominant part of my growth portfolio. These are percentages, not definite numbers.
I’ll use the asset investment portfolio example again. Say I have $1000 to invest. I put $333 in stocks, $333 in bonds, and $333 into real estate. After 6 months, lets say my stocks have doubled to $500, bonds are still at $300, and real estate is down to $200. At this point, stocks are 50%, bonds are 30%, and real estate is at 200%. Therefor, in order to rebalance my portfolio and mitigate risk, I will invest my more of my next $1000 into real estate and bonds.

There are many different factors involved in investing assets, some of which I understand and some of which I’m still learning about.

But I hope my example makes sense: My awareness doesn’t decrease just because I invest more of my time into cultivating happiness levels. I give it a certain amount of minimal maintenance, but otherwise my time and energy will be poured into increasing my happiness and skills.

How I will increase my happiness
Heyo! Anyone else out there grow up in a family unit in which depression ran rampant? It’s a disease, a mental disorder. Clinical depression isn’t fixed by a high five and a few words of encouragement.

But I believe that I can beat it. I intend to make a list of 10 people whom I regard to being genuinely happy people. I further intend to talk with these 10 people and ask them about their happiness levels – what are their habits and practices, mental, physical, and spiritual, that allow them to exist in a state of happiness.

Re-evaluating dating in the happiness frame
WOW. A magnanimous insight just bequeathed itself to me. Surely happiness levels are increased or decreased by the people with whom I surround myself. If i spend time dating or chasing people who are depressed, what does that say about me? It says that my soul wants to be happy and therefor depressed people are, naturally, running away from me. I’ve worn the dark cloak of depression for some time, but i’m ready to cast it off now. (super inspiring: this track came on as a write these words: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyWjKQo9-m8 UPDATE: woah that was poignant).
I’m very grateful for this insight. I look forward to how it will reshape my conscious expression in the days to come.

So some skills that will help me in this self-directed growth are:
– Learning and cultivating a happiness vibe
– Learning and cultivating happiness habits
– Learning from and cultivating relationships with self-asserted happy people
I look forward to implementing these changes in my everyday life. As with the 21 day yoga challenge, It appears that 21 days is a perfect amount of time for a habit to change me. So, as I did with the yoga challenge, I will wait for the new moon (’cause I’m witchy like that 😉 )and will begin my 21 day cycle of happiness.

I will use the three learning and cultivating skills listed above, as well as the steps outlined in The Happiness Advantage blogpost.

Until next time, L’Chiam!
– Tim

Open Relationships + Organic Courage

I haven’t kicked it with Dark Princess in a couple weeks, and other than a few casual conversations on the phone or by text, we haven’t talked. Maybe this is one relationship that will just fall away naturally. I’ve actually reached out a few times but she seems to be pretty busy. Recently I’ve become aware that one quality that I look for in people I’m interested in is time abundance and schedule orientation. Without these qualities, it is impossible for me to commit energetically to building something – even casually – with another human being. I bring this up because knowing that I need time abundance and schedule orientation is a wonderful lesson I’ve recieved in these last few months.

When I first started dating at the beginning of the 21 day Yoga Challenge after taking a year off I had to break through some shame-based fears about being “seen” before I was ready. Now I feel like I’ve been seen, and it wasn’t terrible. In fact, I’ve had many wonderful, real, and pleasureable moments in the process.

I am excited about a new woman in my life, whom I will refer to as The Doc. We are both schedule oriented, and, because there is a mutual attraction, we make time for eachother. Our connection started as friends, then we became intimate friends, then we kissed and eventually became lovers. It took courage to ask if I could kiss her, but other than that, the whole process was very organic and fluid. Maybe even the courage on my part was an organic courage, instead of courage tainted by a sense of needing to prove myself.

ORGANIC COURAGE!!!

Organic courage is courage that arises naturally. A willingness to go outside ones comfort zone is part of the process, but it really isn’t the entire thing. Organic courage means the courage to act, be, do as the person you feel like you are – the person you feel like you are becoming. Organic courage means that you posess within you the wherewithall to knock on the door of opportunity. It doesn’t matter if you knock gingerly, confidently, boisterously, but just knock anyways.

Show up to the opportunity. To run away from that opportunity will never get you through it. You can navigate life brilliantly with organic courage – knock gingerly if you will, but knock.
Eventually the quality of your courage may distill, mature, and turn into a skillset. Eventually you may begin to understand more about what you want, and develop the unique skill set required to get what you want (like I am currently developing in dating…slowly, but surely)

For example, I’m learning more about what I want. I recently had an encounter with a rediculously gorgeous woman. I mean, head turning accident causing good looks. I started a conversation with her (which took courage), and I told her she was beautiful (which also took courage). I didn’t use any cheesy pickup lines – which take courage too – but they’re pretty new to me. I may experiment with them eventually, if I think the time is right, but my organic courage approach seems like it fits better with who I am, at least for now.

Conscious pickup lines
I’ve never really been one for pickup lines. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with them, and I know some people for whom they really work, but I prefer my method of soft courage or organic courage.

Why? I don’t know – maybe it’s an introvert thing. Maybe I prefer to make connections with people with whom there is mutual respect, and I have a belief that pickup lines are disrespectful in some way. I’ve seen them used – boisterously, courageously, and unabashedly – and I’ve seen them work. But I lost respect for the men who used them, and for the women that they used them on. It felt disheartening, and I want to understand why. At one point I used to get my love through the use of covert contract – in other words, “If I am kind and a nice guy, and don’t objectify you or treat you like I am actually interested in you, then you should love me and validate me sexually.”

This nice guy covert contract is pretty common I think, and a cause of sexual frustration for a lot of people young and old – I know because I was once one of them! I’ve really lucked out though, because my organic courage is working for me. Slowly, but it’s still working ok.
But, as any healthy self-regulating system must do, I question this approach. I wonder – is there something to the pickup line thing? Perhaps I can tailor the ethos of the pickup line to fit my vibe. I’d venture a proposal that the reason that pickup lines can work is that they express interest from the get go, which let’s the object of your affections respond in kind, or at least understand your intentions.. My approach with Dark Princess, “the other woman”, The Doc, and more, has been to get to know them personally first, then express my interest in physical affection. I did this because the vibe felt right to do so, which is a result of just feeling out a situation intuitively (another reason why yoga and meditation are so great for self-efficacy – they sharpen intuition).

Positive marketing in Dating
I’d consider the vibe and the way that we interact with potential partners as a form of advertizing. Thus, if I advertise my self – in this case, the quality and value that I provide to a partner – as something that is flashier than the reality of what I can truly offer, then I feel way out of alignment with my integrity.

This is why, if I were to start using pickup lines, they would have to be reflective of the quality and value that I can truly provide – which is an open-hearted, encouraging, fun, fluid connection. Boom. I just learned something about myself.

Now…

I am in an incredible dating situation! The Doc is encouraging of my current preference for open relationship, as well as my desire to explore role play as a method of self discovery…essentially, she encourages me to be me.

Emotionally, this is incredibly rewarding. To be in an intimate partnership with someone who encourages me to be me is like, literally the best thing evar. (Usually I’d want to use a perhaps more literary description, but girly linguistics seems to do the trick here. Sometimes it’s not what you say, it’s the way you say it). Encouragement to be me was never something I had as a child. The fact that I found someone who provides that is wonderful. I’ve worked on becoming more of myself recently, and to meet someone who reflects my internal change back to me helps to reenforce the change.

The speed at which I manifested this relationship is pretty staggering. Remember the fourth step of the manifestation process? Yeah, I’m still adjusting. It’s changing me and bringin me new positive cognitive dissonance experiences!

Open Relationships – a lesson from a couple years back
A couple years back I dated multiple people at the same time, but I started things out wrong. I became physically intimate with someone before having an in-depth conversation and making a mutual decision to be open. I dated this person and we became physically intimate quickly. I did so with the understanding and explicit detailing that I didn’t want anything exclusive. But she became jealous of my other partners and let that jealousy get the best of her. She contacted one of my other partners and told her off very territorially. It fvcked the whole situation up and I ended up having to choose neither of them. I was learning at the time, and so I understand there were probably some other things that I could have done differently. Most notably, I would have spent longer choosing a primary partner. I would have chosen a primary partner who was open and understanding of my need for open relationships, not just accepting because she wanted to be with me.

I’ve never had a partner as encouraging as The Doc. It’s hard to say if she’ll be my primary – I think it’s too early to tell. For now I’ll just enjoy our connection, playfulness, conversation, and mutual respect and admiration.

It’s a good thing.

[Comment! I love hearing from you.]

[If you want to learn more about my creative projects, check out my musical project Timo or my psy-fi novel Igby]

Feeling Super Vulnerable…

I’m feeling super vulnerable today.  I’m getting frustrated with the fact that I’m spending so much “focused” time at my part-time job and so little time working on what I’d really rather be doing: playing private piano gigs, writing Igby, and learning how to make futurebass music.

I want to work smart, always. How do I do this? I MUST evaluate my time realistically. I MUST look at the projects that I want to accomplish, and prioritize them.

I must confess, my gung-ho attitude of doing an hour of yoga after work has manifested lackluster results. I haven’t disciplined myself to do an hour of yoga more than 2 or 3 times this week. That sounds pretty good, actually. I don’t know why I’m so down on myself. Maybe it’s because I’ve taken in so much sugar recently? and my emotional-energy levels are out of whack?

What would it look like to do all these things that I’d rather be doing? It would mean scheduling the time to do them, and doing them. I’ve wondered if I need to create a deadline for these creative projects.

[Edit: Here’s a brief clip of me second guessing myself that I was going to edit out, exploring my inner belief structure through writing. I decided to leave it in for the sake of example. Watch how I am able to turn things around once I get the emotion out in the light: “I am currently, temporarily feeling depressed at the prospect of never getting another vacation again. Wait – hold up. Who said I will never get another vacation again? Not true. I’m not sure where that belief came from. I suppose it’s because I’ve always had a hard time dealing with a feeling of low self-worth. Essentially the idea is “I’m not worth taking time off for”.

Woah – where did that come from? I’m so fvcking sick of having to look back to my childhood to make sense of my present. But I don’t know of another place where I was so vulnerable to the ideas and beliefs of the people around me. [the turn around] I want to make something out of myself. I want to be happy. I want to do good work. I want to be financially and spiritually abundant.”]

Right now, my vibe is getting better. It’s interesting. There have been times where I’ve [allegedly] wanted to medicate with cannabis cookies. I’ve been watching a lot of movies recently. It feels lazy. I’m not sure if I want to stop it and read books instead. If I relocated my studio musical setup, that would be much easier, and I would move a reading chair up to my bedroom.

Let the air clear.

I was just thinking about a friend of mine who tried to start a small business. He failed. But he dragged his feet for many, many months after I felt like he should have re-evaluated and pivoted. Why? Stubbornness, persistence, not knowing when to quit. I would like to more clearly and easily know when to quit – chasing a love interest, a job, a project, a creative relationship. Is it only an emotional decision? How do I make these decisions? I think it should be a combination of emotional and mental.

 

Take Time for the Sensous

 

Also, something that I’ve become increasingly aware of is that I need to make time for the sensuous – the savory. Enjoying the finer things in life. I want to cry just thinking about this. I haven’t traveled since that awesome camping trip I took with some friends to the Buffalo River in July. How can I make the time to travel?

I want to live in Asia for a while. Japan would be great. How can I do this? How can I set up income streams to create wealth whether I work or not?

Here’s what I’m envisioning: A business, building and certifying Reiki practitioners here in Memphis, and further helping connect clients with practitioners with places to give and receive Reiki. Organize the results so the practitioner can choose the best place, and schedule it then and there. 444. Then, i can take the business on the road.

God I’m feeling so depressed right now…I think I’ll go home and sleep. 999

God is reaching me in the most spine-shilling goosebump inducing way possible. I will let this energy rearrange my inner self. I will follow my heart. When ever I feel off, my heart will take me home.

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© Tim Stanek 2016. All Rights Reserved.

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